Developer faces long process in school, project approval

May 19, 2011|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

A developer offering to build a $23 million school in Anne Arundel County in exchange for the approval of a large residential project still faces a long process to get it approved.

While the County Council unanimously approved zoning for the 1,000-home RiverWood development at its last meeting, the Severna Park-based developer the Polm Cos. must still submit a site development plan to the county for approval, Anne Arundel officials said. The project also must be included in the county's Water and Sewer Master Plan and show that it conforms with the county's adequate public facilities law.

The process could take months, and there are no guarantees that the development would gain all of the required approvals. The site development plan, for example, requires the submission of dozens of documents, including a stormwater management plan and a traffic study.

"There's a lot that has to occur in the process," said Larry R. Tom, director of the county office of Planning and Zoning.

Andrew Zois, president of Polm, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Councilman Jamie Benoit, who represents the Laurel area, said last week that he had reviewed the lease agreement between the Polm Cos. and Imagine Global Village Academy, which would operate the school, and was satisfied after making some amendments. Benoit had scrutinized the project and had said he would not vote to approve the zoning if he didn't see the lease.

Benoit said the developer still faces hurdles.

In March, Polm purchased the land where the school would be built on Brock Bridge Road in Laurel from the Laurel Moose Lodge for $2.5 million.

The proposed school, the Imagine Global Village Academy, would educate 715 elementary and middle school students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Imagine would lease the space from Polm, and the county would pay Imagine to run the school.

The new school would ease crowding at aging Brock Bridge, Maryland City and Jessup elementary schools as well as address expected attendance increases because of federal military Base Realignment and Closure process.

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